Good Health to All from Rexall

Rexall Sign

The Rexall sign at the Connolly’s Pharmacy in my neighborhood is illuminated again! When I went by on my lunch hour a few days ago, I saw a truck with a ladder extended to the sign, and I thought for sure it was being removed for good, but when I came by after work, it was lit up for the first time in my memory! I’m an Old Time Radio fan, and I’ve been working my way through the Phil Harris and Alice Faye program, sponsored by Rexall. Every episode opens with the word “Good Health to All from Rexall” and now I hear those words every time I drive by!

When I was growing up, Rexall stores were everywhere. Now they’re gone. To see more pictures of Rexall signs, check out this collection by state on the Roadside American site: Rexall Drug Store Signs, or Flickr’s Rexall Drug Store Group.

To learn more about the rise and fall of Rexall drugstores, read The Rexall Story: A History of Genius and Neglect by Mickey C. Smith.

Connolly’s Pharmacy
44 Bay Road
South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Back of the Mike

Back of the Mike (1938) shows a young boy listening to the latest episode in an adventure radio program. Old Pete Belden and his niece Betty are driving the Flying B payroll across the desert when they are attacked by bandits, complete with cowboy hats and bandanas!

At first we see the story as if it were a movie, and we see the scenes that the boy is seeing in his mind. Then the view switches, and we’re in the radio studio, where we see the actors reading from their scripts and the sound effects men producing the sounds of horse hooves, cars, doors, fire, gunshots and more. The film keeps switching, showing us the boy in his bedroom, the Western scenes in his head, and the smooth operation of the radio study producing this fantasy.

This film is a great look at how radio dramas were made. I’ve seen other behind-the-scenes looks at old time radio studios in action, but I thought this one was particularly effective, contrasting the drama produced by the imagination of the listener with what’s really happening in the studio.

Back of the Mike was produced by the Jam Handy Organization, a Detroit-based company run by Henry Jamison “Jam” Handy. Jam Handy produced hundreds of short educational and industrial films. This is one of many in the Prelinger Archives available through the Internet Archive site.

Back of the Mike (1938)

Any Bonds Today?

In honor of Memorial Day, I put together this little video of Any Bonds Today, a song by Irving Berlin, sung by Barry Wood, with images from the Library of Congress and National Archives. Just a first attempt at using Movie Maker.

  • Any Bonds Today? — The 1942 cartoon version, starring Bugs Bunny with Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd. This is the original version, which includes an unfortunate blackface parody of Al Jolson. Because of this possibly-offensive segment, this is one of the so-called Censored 11 cartoons not included in the Cartoon Network’s 2001 June Bugs marathon.
  • Any Bonds Today Sheet Music — From Smithsonian’s The Price of Freedom: Americans at War website.

    “When the ‘tall man with the high hat’ came knocking, as Berlin referred to Uncle Sam, 8 out of every 13 Americans scraped together a total of $185.7 billion to invest in victory.”